Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cosmic radiation - Flying Drilling examines the Earth's magnetic field - Sü

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21 November 2013 11:31

Weltraumforsrchung satellite swarm flying in formation

(Video: Esa Photo: ESA / P. Carril, 2013)

The geomagnetic field polarizes around again. For several hundred thousand years, it would be again at the time. This may have consequences because the field protects humanity from cosmic radiation and solar storms. This is why Europe now takes it with the three satellites of the “Swarm” mission under the microscope.

The monument to Flavio Gioia is in the port of Amalfi. The Italian navigator is in the 13th Century have invented the compass – the instrument with the magnetized, balancing on a pin needle aligned by invisible forces always shows north. To the magnetic pole, it must be said, to which humanity still oriented, although the-art navigation technology requires no magnetic field. But what if the compass needle suddenly no longer shows to the north but to the south

Indeed, such a reversal is often occurred in the course of the Earth, on average every 200,000 to 300,000 years. Earth’s magnetic field fluctuates constantly and currently it even weakens considerably. What’s behind it wants to explore the European Space Agency ESA with the class consisting of three satellites Swarm mission.

The trio starts next Friday with a Rockot Russian rocket from the Plesetsk into a polar orbit. So the swarm can always measure the whole surface of the earth.

“Long overdue”

“Actually, a reversal of the magnetic field on Earth is long overdue,” said Roger Haagmans of the European Space Agency ESA in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Since 780,000 years is the magnetic pole to the show the compass needles, to the north. In 1831 he was first measured, and since then he has traveled 2000 kilometers to the south. He slips one day all the way to the south, although it would be no change overnight, but one of the parts of modern civilization would literally turn upside down.

pole reversals of the past have left their mark on the seabed, for example: “Fingerprints of the magnetic field,” Haagmans calls them. At the suture lines of tectonic plates penetrates magma from the depth and solidifies, taking it pushes the existing crust outward away. During solidification, the iron-bearing minerals in the magma align to the magnetic field. As strips are created on the ocean floor, which document the change of the magnetic poles.

top northern lights, city lights below – in Iceland is the shimmering spectacle of the aurora borealis to admire. Because the Earth’s magnetic field is weaker in the far north, charged particles from space penetrate deeper into the atmosphere and produce light when braking effects.

(Photo: Reuters ) This pattern

the scientists want to explore using Swarm . “A survey by ship or plane would take much longer,” the Esa-researcher who is a senior scientist at the mission and this has helped to develop for ten years says. “We can not yet determine the direction in which the magnetic pole moves in the Arctic, but we do not know much more about it.”

A look into the future would be important because “the magnetic north pole could even someday in Germany are,” says Haagmans. At the poles, the magnetic field is weaker but – and thus also the shield that protects the Earth from radiation from space


The magnetic field protects humanity from cosmic radiation and solar storms. Haagmans compares it with a gigantic bubble, inside which lies the earth. Attacks in the form of high-energy particles bounce off of this case, they are derived in past the planet – most of the time. If it does come through violent disturbances to the earth, it is uncomfortable. 1989, for example, put a violent solar flare power in Quebec lame. A blackout caused by a geomagnetic solar storm, hit 2003, Sweden and the European Aviation radar. In the U.S. flights had to be postponed, a research satellite was lost.

The “Swarm” satellite in orbit

(Photo: ESA / P. Carril, 2013 )

Creates the magnetic field to 95 percent within the earth, where a red-hot iron-and nickel-containing melt rotates around 3,000 kilometers below the Earth’s surface. “This is the dynamo of the magnetic field,” says Haagmans. The remaining percentages caused by iron-containing minerals and rocks in the crust and in ionosphere and magnetosphere 85-600 kilometers 60000-120000 kilometers above in space.

exactly the dynamo works, scientists are still puzzling. The intensity of the magnetic field varies. It is inferior not only to Poland, but also in a zone on the South American continent, called the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA). There, the shield is only half as strong as Europe. Noticeable to do that, so Haagmans when Earth observation satellites fly over the area. “Most technical errors occur there.”

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  • source and Editor: SZ on 21.11.2013/mcs

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